Widely panned was Kai Sotto’s decision to leave G League Ignite in favor of joining Gilas Pilipinas’ bubble last February.
Blasted was the decision as not only did the Doha window get postponed but a few days after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas broke camp, Ignite and Sotto mutually broke their ties with one another.
The 18-year-old admitted that he was down when he went back to the States. Thankfully though, his support system, including his extended family in East West Private, was there to lift him back up.
“After the G League Ignite, it was tough especially after sa lahat ng mga nangyayari. After nun, sobrang happy ako sa group of people around me helped me to stay in my path and just focus,” shared Sotto during a press conference that introduced him as SMART’s newest ambassador.
“Kung ibang tao yan, baka mag give up na sila. Pero ako, hindi ko masyado ko inisip yun kung ano yung best para sa akin and I just continued to work. I just motivated myself kaya yun yung bagay kaya nag-iimprove ako.”
What surprised Kai though was how vocal his mom Pamela was during that time.
Of course, his dad Ervin was already a given as he knows the plight of a professional basketaball player as he had experienced it himself. But it was Pamela who really pushed Kai to get back to his feet.
“Yung family ko talaga, lalo na yung mom ko. Mas naging vocal siya sa akin kasi yung dad ko lagi ko maaasahan ko. Yung nanay ko yung nagbigay ng lakas sa akin to stay strong lang at ma-realize na dumadaan yan sa lahat ng tao.”
For the past few weeks, Kai has been training non-stop as in a few weeks, he is set to come back home and join Gilas.
Besides going back to the national team, he also signed a three-year deal with NBL-Australia club Adelaide 36ers.
Definitely, the kid known as Kaiju is much stronger now.
“Pag yung dream mo mataas, malaki yung bumps na ma-eencounter mo. Having my dad and yung dalawang kapatid ko, tinulungan nila ako magsipag pa ulit.”